Thermae Europae has been a 3 years cooperation project aiming at the valorisation and preservation of the thermal cultural heritage in Europe.
The objective of the network was on one hand to study, at a European level, the thermal cultural heritage, discussing and identifying the needs for its preservation and valorisation; on the other hand the network intended to promote thermal cities as real dynamic cultural centres, able to promote cultural and dissemination events at international levels. The network proposed to help the cities in exchanging their experiences and specific knowledge in order to become more aware of the important cultural heritage they have to preserve and of the methods for doing it. In order to reach this aim and exchange the knowledge at a wider European level, the partners had created a widespread network involving important thermal cities and thermal organisations from 11 countries.
EHTTA is a non-profit association based on the need to encourage, protect and enhance the thermal, artistic and cultural heritage throughout Europe.
The main objectives of the association are:
- To create a strong network of partnerships between towns and spas, promoting exchanges of experience among the different cultural operators of the cities
- To promote the system at European level involving the institutions through support of European programs, in order to create a European spa trail and to complete the established programs
- To encourage, promote and develop analytical research and statistics within the spa industry, focusing primarily on the history and artistic heritage, cultural, legal and legislative aspects linked to it
The first action of the E.H.T.T.A. is the creation of the European Route of Historical Thermal Towns approved by the Council of Europe. The European Route of Historical Thermal Towns is a trail that retraces the places where life has taken and developed the spa culture in Europe. The route ideally links the cultural and historic heritage of the spa towns and promotes the quality of their spa waters
- Highlight the distinctive traits of the spa towns and evidence what they have in common: spa culture, variety and diversity of local traditions
- Encourage the integrated development of spa towns and preserve their cultural and architectural heritage
- Promote a network of close cooperation between European institutions and European support programs;
- Encourage the development of research, analysis, studies and statistics in the spa industry, especially as regards the historical, cultural and artistic heritage;
- Develop a new strategy for the spa industry, which must be considered in future one of the most promising because of its cultural and tourist potential, contributing to the economy of culture
Statute of E.H.T.T.A. Click here to view the document.
EHTTA in brief
An international non-profit-making Association has been set up, named the European Historical Spa Town Association, referred to for the sake of brevity “EHTTA”.
The Association is set up for an unlimited duration.
The Association pursues the following non-profit-making objectives of international utility:
The creation of a permanent European organisation with a view to forming a network of towns that boast a recognised spa tradition and a rich heritage, in order to enhance their history and safeguard and protect their cultural heritage as spa towns, while defining creative and innovative policies of promotion and enhancement.
The activities that the Association proposes to put into effect in order to achieve its aims are as follows:
- To reinforce the cooperation of spa towns and spas at TransEuropean level, and exchange experiences and good practices between the administrations and/or cultural and socio-economic operators of spa towns.
- To promote the network at European level, in close collaboration with European institutions and with the support of European programmes, to put into effect European projects, and set up a European spa route.
- To encourage, promote, complete and develop research, analyses, studies and statistics in the spa sector, first of all concerning the history and artistic and cultural heritage, and legislative and statutory aspects that concern this heritage.
- To enhance and safeguard the architectural and artistic spa heritage, and integrate the heritage within the development policies of spa towns.
While seeking to achieve its major objective, the Association pursues the following aims:
- To obtain the recognition of the specificity of European spa towns toward the European Union in order to raise funds to help thermal income and patrimony.
- To encourage the integrated development of spa towns and safeguard their cultural and architectural heritage, by exchanging experiences and good practices at European level;
- The commissioning, at the level of the European Union, of legislations, policies, inventories specifically covering the protection of the architectural spa heritage, as well as awareness campaigns, through projects, talks, networks, on the possibilities offered by legislation, policies and existing resources at European, national and/or regional level, on the subject of the protection, safeguard, restoration and promotion of the architecture and artistic heritage of spa towns. As regards inventories, a European inventory, organised per country, should be created and made easily accessible online.
- To construct and promote a European turistic product comercialized at an international level (towards American, Asian, Australian markets, etc.) that can generate economic relapses to the spa towns.
The Association is set up by its founder members. The founder members are spa towns, and have the right and duty to take part in establishing objectives and in running and developing the Association.
A "spa town" is considered to be any local authority, regardless of size or number of inhabitants, which has been acknowledged since its foundation in the definition of spa town, having historically deployed activities linked to water cures with its effects on the development of the town, its architecture, tourism and cultural and socio-economic initiatives. The water cures in question are linked to the exploitation of spa and mineral waters.
The main principles to be members of the association are as follows :
- The spa town has to have spa water exploitation (bottled water is not a criterion) and therefore be operant spa and/or wellness centre with an historical tradition.
- The spa town has to have an architectural thermal heritage dating at least the XIX century, including one or more buildings (related to spa culture) classified as Historical Monuments.
- The spa town has to have a tradition of entertainment/cultural activities : theatre, casino, concerts,etc.
- The spa town has to offer a top quality hotel system and a significant number of rooms, adapted to the town thermal prerogative.